Sunday, June 26, 2011

Critter Sighting

You never know what you might see at Owl Hollow. Over the years, I've gotten into the habit of frequently peering out the window of whatever room I'm in whenever I happen to think of it. It's just an absent-minded way of keeping tabs on the out-of-doors as I go about my normal routine. And I've been rewarded with sightings of a lot of critters who are either year-round residents or just passing through.

Waldo and Luther do the same thing. Often, it's the cats' behavior that alerts me to something interesting on the other side of the glass.  Sometimes, it's a neighbor's cat on the prowl. Yesterday, my neighbor's big shaggy dog had gotten loose and he came ambling on by, apparently delighted to be on the lam. Other critters, like the deer, coyote and woodchucks, linger for a while, making a meal of the apricot-sized green apples that have begun falling from the apple tree.  At other times, the critters are just passing through like the wild turkey, or the raccoon that took recent advantage of my laziness to raid a bucket of bird seed left in an open garage.

Today, the early morning light woke me up early, around 5:30 a.m. After feeding the boys, I settled in at the kitchen table with a plate of blueberry pancakes and a morning news show. A movement outside caught my eye. This time, it was a gray fox acting like it was late for an urgent appointment. He was taking the narrow blue stone footpath that runs along the north side of the house, just five feet from the window, and with a waist-high picket fence garden on the other side.  He was gone in an instant; no time for photo ops.

I've only seen foxes here a handful of times, and not recently at that. And it was always red fox that I saw. So spotting the more elusive gray fox was quite a cool surprise. Especially given that, according to my reading, coyotes won't tolerate a fox in their territory. We have a coyote den in the area, and they make their presence known on occasion.

So, this was the second big critter surprise of the season, after the sighting of a large garter snake by the stone wall. (Not the usual pencil-diameter variety.) The snake hung out for at least part of one day because I saw him at two different times one day a few weeks ago, but seemingly left for parts unknown.

It was great to see the fox, though I worry for the many domestic cats that run around here all the time. They seem to prefer the unkempt environs of my property to the tidier lawns and landscapes of their owners' homes.


  1. What fun to see something so elusive and usually so hidden. It's amazing what goes on out in our yards, so close to us but unseen!

  2. Very neat! Thanks for sharing. :)